CORNER BROOK — Despite the argument from his lawyer that it was drug addiction that fueled his attempted armed robbery, Titus Lynn House will be going to prison for two years, less one day.
The 23-year-old from Ontario pleaded guilty in April to the crime that took place at the Bonne Bay Pharmachoice in Norris Point last Dec. 30.
House entered the pharmacy with a knife and demanded various pills. There was an altercation with one of the two employees and House fled the premises.
He was arrested a short distance away from the drug store.
During submissions on sentencing in provincial court earlier this week, Crown attorney Adam Sparkes asked that House be given three years of prison time because of the seriousness of the offence.
Defence lawyer Robby Ash asked that House be given only 14 months. He said his client is addicted to Oxycontin, but had dropped out of the methadone program he was in and acted out of a desperation caused by the addiction.
Before being sentenced, House was given the opportunity to address the court. He apologized to the victims of his crime and acknowledged he had no right to do what he did.
"If I was the person I am today, it would have been totally different circumstances," he said of his efforts to regain control of his drug problem.
Sparkes had argued there was nothing exceptional about House's circumstances at the time of the offence that warranted leniency from the court in punishing him.
Judge Catherine Allen-Westby did not think three years was appropriate, but she also said House's addiction was not a mitigating factor in this case. She said the jail sentence, followed by three years of probation should help the youthful first-time offender continue to get his life back in order.
The judge also alluded to the terror described in the victim impact statements filed with the court by the two pharmacy employees.
"The public must be reassured that the courts will punish those who inflict such terror," said Allen-Westby.
As part of his probation, House will be prohibited from entering the pharmacy or having any contact whatsoever with the two employees.